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Michael Levy, a deputy director of the California Office of Homeland Security and former Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati attorney, died Friday after being hospitalized with pneumonia. He was 38. Levy, who had suffered from muscular dystrophy and scoliosis since childhood, checked himself into Mount Diablo Medical Center in Concord two weeks ago. Friends said his limited lung capacity made it particularly difficult for Levy to overcome illness. “He was vulnerable, and he fought really hard for two weeks,” said Nancy O’Malley, chief assistant district attorney in Alameda County and a family friend. Levy fought to reach his career goals despite his physical impairments. He earned a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law and clerked for Northern District Judge Robert Aguilar. Levy spent three years with Wilson Sonsini, first doing securities and then employment law. He later was an associate at Berg & Parker. “He was remarkable because — while he was confined to a wheelchair — there was no limitation to what he could do,” said F. Gale Connor, a partner at Berg. “He second-chaired a trial [the Northern District eminent domain case Emeryville v. Elementis Pigments, 99-03719], put on a witness, cross-examined that witness and carried around exhibits in the wheelchair.” “He had this gizmo in his car to get in and out of it,” said Connor. “He had hand-operated pedals to drive. � He could drive to court, argue a motion, go back to work.” It was while at Berg & Parker that Levy was tapped for a position with the state’s now dismantled Office of Criminal Justice Planning. After several years there, he was appointed to be a deputy director of California’s Office of Homeland Security in charge of federal grant management. “We had hundreds of millions of dollars coming into California, and we needed the best we could find,” said George Vinson, former head of that office. “He was such a critical thinker and such an asset to me.” Levy helped allocate the grant funds to sheriffs, chiefs of police and attending fire chiefs in 58 California counties. “Without his understanding and critical thinking, we would have had a lot of problems,” said Vinson. “We did have a lot of problems, but we would have had more without him.” An avid sports fan who loved the San Francisco Giants and 49ers, Levy was recognized for his sense of humor. “He had talked at one time of the bench,” said Connor. “He had that sort of a dry, no-nonsense demeanor that would work well in a black robe.” Fellow workers at the Office of Homeland Security said Levy knew people all over the country in the first-responder community. “He always wanted to be in the mix,” said his partner, JuLyn Park, an associate with Berg & Parker. Levy is also survived by his parents, Barbara and Mel Levy, his brother John Vidano and sisters Renee Calta and Julie Neefe. Services will be noon Saturday at Christ the King Catholic Church in Pleasant Hill, with a reception to follow. Tax-deductible donations may be made in the name of the Michael Levy Scholarship Fund to the Muscular Dystrophy Adult Support Group to provide camp scholarships for kids with special needs. Donations can be sent to MDASG, c/o Jeff Francis, 5543 Taft Dr., San Jose, CA 95124.

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